American researchers tried to create a mathematical description for the topological phases of cold plasma in a homogeneous magnetic field and discovered ten new plasma phases at once. The discovery, reported in Popular Mechanics, brings humanity closer to the age of fusion.
Physicists Yicheng Fu and Hong Qin of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory created a new way to classify magnetized plasma, allowing scientists to take a fresh look at the transition between plasma phases. The discovery was made possible by the topological study of plasmas, in which scientists examine the waveforms within plasmas. This is necessary to understand how plasma interacts with itself.
“We have discovered ten new plasma phases at once, and it’s incredible! We are talking about a major breakthrough in the study of plasma physics, which is very important in the context of moving energy to fusion,” said Fu.
Plasma is commonly referred to as the fourth state of matter. Plasma is a gas in which electrons are separated from atoms, creating ionized matter. Plasma is a state of matter inside stars, where lighter elements form heavier ones, accompanied by the release of enormous amounts of energy. If scientists succeed in reproducing fusion on Earth, humanity will have a limitless source of clean energy.